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|Pastor Marilyn returns to the front of the Sanctuary after the affirming vote of the Congregation on Sunday, September 8, 2013. (Lisa texts the good news to a friend as the church erupts in cheers.)|
If you read this blog, you may already know that Imani held a congregational meeting, September 8th, during which the congregation elected me to be Imani’s Senior Pastor. It was a wonderful confirmation of my feeling of being called to this church. I am thrilled to accept this new assignment and step fully into my role as servant-leader of this community of faith!
I want to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to all of the members and friends of Imani for the warm welcome that you have given me since my return to NC. It has been great to re-connect with old friends. It has been equally gratifying to experience how open and receptive people whom I had not known before have been to me and to my ministry. I am grateful to have the blessings of both of Imani’s previous pastors - Rev. Phil Matthews and Imani’s Founder and first pastor, Rev. Wanda Floyd. I cannot imagine a smoother, more natural transition!
I take your trust and the responsibility that goes with this call very seriously. First and foremost, I want to please God. I believe that we are all created to glorify God, and that is the deepest desire of my heart.
I also hope and pray to be a facilitator of healing in our community. I haven’t seen as many of my old friends as I would like to. There are lots of former members of Imani and other friends who are still in the area and (I’ve heard) are not currently associated with any church. I have worshiped with you. I got to know you, and grew to love you, as we were active and faithful in church together. I would love it if you would come check us out! I believe that whenever a church gets a new pastor, you can expect some changes. I’m sure that will be the case for us, here at Imani. So even if you think you know us - even if you did know us at some point in the past - it would be incorrect to assume that we are exactly the same as what you remember. This is a time, in the life of Imani, when you can be a part of creating the church you would enjoy being a part of. I would love to have input from the community to help us to know your desires and needs and how we can meet them.
I have a passion for ministry that reaches beyond the “church house.”
And, of course, I have a few ideas of my own! I have a passion for ministry that reaches beyond the “church house.” Now that I expect to be around for a while, I will be actively looking for more ways that Imani can be a blessing to the wider community around us. Any suggestions?
I have also had the great and valuable experience of ministering in a wide variety of worship settings and styles. I get it that different people experience God in different ways; and find different atmospheres more conducive to worship. So during Advent, we will offer one-hour, liturgy-driven Sunday evening services. My prayer is that by doing so, Imani will be able to meet the needs of those who need something different from our usual, less formal mode of worship. I know that no church can be the one for everyone; still, if we can serve a larger segment of the community, that is a good thing for all concerned.
I hope everyone will stay tuned as we prayerfully seek to discern God’s will and plan for Imani’s future. I am honored to be a part of it. I look forward to great things ahead!